Bishop sprays holy water from firetruck to cleanse Colombian city
Catholic News Service
2/14/2021 10:25 AM
BOGOTA, Colombia — The bishop of a Colombian city that is suffering from a deadly spike in drug violence boarded a firetruck to spray the town's main street with holy water and help to cleanse it of evil.
Bishop Rubén Jaramillo Montoya performed the gesture Feb. 10 during a protest against violence in Buenaventura, a city of about half a million people on Colombia's Pacific Coast.
During the event, thousands of local residents, dressed in white and wearing face masks, also formed a 12-mile-long human chain that crossed most of the city.
Buenaventura is Colombia's main port on the Pacific Ocean. It is located on a large inlet surrounded by thick jungle and dozens of small rivers that spill out into the sea.
This geographic location has long made the city and its surroundings a coveted spot for drug traffickers, who ship cocaine to Central America and the United States.
Fighting between gangs increased in January as new players like the National Liberation Army guerrillas and Mexican drug cartels try to get a foothold in the area.
According to the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group, the surge in violence doubled the city's homicide rate in January and forced 400 people to leave their homes.
Raft of assisted suicide laws introduced in states
Washington D.C., Feb 9, 2021 / 04:00 pm MT (CNA).- Seven states are currently considering bills that would legalize assisted suicide, and two other states are looking to expand legal assisted suicide.
Legislators in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, and North Dakota have all introduced bills in 2021 to doctor-prescribed suicide for terminally-ill patients.
A priest in the Republic of Ireland has made "takeaway ashes" available for parishioners to administer at home on Ash Wednesday.
Fr Brian Brady teamed up with a shop in Clonmany, County Donegal, to provide holy ashes in sauce containers.
Covid-19 restrictions in the country mean all church services must be conducted online.
He told BBC News NI that he has been overwhelmed by the response. All 600 portions of ashes have been taken away.
"It's a new experience formed to have people wanting to talk to me," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme.
"There's been a lot of attention and people want more ashes but can't get them."
The priest said it was "a nice feeling" that this initiative had meant something to people.
"A lot of our parishioners would come every year for their ashes and it's so important that we honour those traditions - even at these most difficult times," he said.
"We really did have to stretch the old imagination on this one though."
New Chinese rules on appointing bishops omit Vatican role
New rules for religious groups in China, due to take effect on May 1, stipulate that Catholic bishops will be “approved and consecrated by the Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference.” The rules do not mention any Vatican involvement in episcopal appointments. The Vatican has not disclosed the details of a 2018 agreement with Beijing, which was recently renewed, on the appointment of bishops.
Jesuit magazine encourages Catholics to ignore Sunday Mass obligation
February 16, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — America, a magazine published by the Jesuits of the United States, encouraged Catholics to ignore Mass obligations in an article on Friday, implying that “conscience” could overrule bishops’ directives.
The article, titled, “Explainer: Your bishop said it’s time to come back to church. Is it a sin if you don’t go?,” came days after the Archdiocese of Detroit announced the end of a Mass dispensation enacted in light of COVID-19 almost a year ago.